tv [untitled] November 4, 2011 9:00am-9:30am PDT
members, and then you have an unlawful seriatim meeting. one thing we have cautioned board members a lot is that it is very easy to have email exchanges turned into an unlawful meeting. someone sends an email addresses it to all board members, and the members start replying. they hit reply all, and then it becomes a discussion among a majority of members about an item that is within the board jurisdiction. that discussion is not taking place in public. the public does not know. today, we're not talking about public records, but i also wanted to remind you that when you use technology to communicate by email or by text or other means, even if you are
using your own, personal device, if you are communicating about the public business, it is at least possible -- the lot is not very well developed on this issue, there have been a couple of cases, but we have not been given enough guidance yet, but it is possible that that could be subject to disclosure. i want to make sure you are all aware of that. ok, so now we know what a meeting is. we can go on to public notice. of course, all of your public meetings have to be noticed, and your secretary is an expert in that in making sure that is done properly, and that notice includes your agenda, and you cannot act on any matter or discuss any matter that is not on your agenda. i think you all are well aware
of this issue, and just a reminder, it includes discussion. an item that is not on your agenda. director: can i ask for a clarification of the process? >> sure. director: for an item to be on the agenda. >> the way that that works is that your agendas are sent by the director of transportation and the president or the chairman of your board, who sets the agenda and decides when items will come before the board, so an individual board member does not have the authority to command that a certain item appeared on the agenda at a certain time. that is how the process works. president nolan: but as often
happens, and during comments, as director brinkman did, that is -- >> that is ok, because you are hearing from the board, know what items the individual members went on, and you are discussing it with the director, especially if it requires some kind of staff action or staff report. you are making sure. you are doing that in your function as a chair as administrative matter to make sure that everything can come before the board in due course. and there is no problem with individual board members stating what they would like to have on the agenda, telling the executive director, that they would like to have something on the agenda, asking the chair to place it on the agenda. that is perfectly fine. that is what you do.
there are some exceptions to the rule about not discussing items on the agenda. they are extremely rare, but there are some in emergencies. you sometimes will be able to discuss matters that are not on the agenda. of course, our office would be giving you advice about this. i have been in this office for 22 years, and i think the only time i have ever seen this happen was after loma prieta. and this goes back to your question, about not discussing items on the agenda. it does not prevent people from asking to put something on a future agenda, from a board member following up on public comment, for asking for clarification about what their concern is, a public common with
the reference to staff or other resources or asking staff to report back on something that a member of the public is commenting about. so one of the other tenants for public meetings is that the public has a right to comment at all public meetings. they have the right to comment anonymously. your secretary asks for people to provide a speaker card, and that is fine, but if the speaker does not want to fill a speaker card, they have a right to address you. they have the right to criticize the policy body, criticize members of the policy body, to criticize staff. again, they need to keep on topic. and they do not have the right to discriminate against members of staff, make discriminatory
comments. that, again, is a matter that the deputy who is present would be advising about if you got into a situation like that. speakers have a right to equal time. you must give speakers equal time on the particular item, and speakers have the right to translation. the members of the public that do not speak english have a right to have their comments translated, and one more point of clarification because we have had that come up a bit, our understanding is, for example, if we are giving three minutes of public comment, and the person needs translation, it is three minutes for their comments and three minutes from the transmitter, but if they are translating their own comments, it is a total of three minutes. >> i think that is right, click. >> madam chair, three minutes
for the speaker, and then i do not time and all the translator. >> the limits on public comment, speakers have up to three minutes on an item. i know you are all familiar with this. sometimes you get less for everybody. they do not have the right to speak off topic or to discuss other meetings. they do not have the right to a response from the board or staff members. that is absolutely discretionary. and they do not have the right to discriminate against city staff. >> can i? so the no right to speak off topic, sometimes in a meeting we have some guy talking about steve jobs, just going off, and there was another person who came up and sang a song in the past, and i am wondering -- i
understand that they do not have the right to do that so to speak, but i am just curious as to how we should be handling those things in the future because i also want to encourage a sense of discipline from within this room, and i am wondering -- >> president nolan: the singer, i understand that he addresses the board, and it is topical. i had someone injected it from the room by sheriff's because he just would not stop. it was a very tense situation. in the event that it was kind of widespread and people would not respect that, we have the ability as in the chair to ask for a recess and actually clear the room, but you have to allow
them back in, is my understanding, there may be only a few at a time. >> yes, and i have definitely seen that happen. it can be quite effective. it can be really effective to recess the room, to allow people to calm down, to tell people that you want to go on to the meeting and that you want to hear from them and that you do not want them to shots of the people can be heard. i have seen that on more than a few occasions. i have never seen a chair just let a few people back in at a time, but our office has advised that you can do that if it is absolutely necessary. president nolan: there is something that takes their 2
billion minutes, and they are speaking about something that is fairly jermaine, it is sometimes easier to let them finish. director: maybe some directors do not like that so much. >> that is what i have seen cheers do, interrupt the speaker and say this is the topic, or we are on this item. you can comment on this item, or we are in general public comment. do you have something to say about things that are under our jurisdiction, and generally that leads to it. you do have a situation sometimes where people for whatever reason, maybe because of a mental disability, really cannot stay on topic, and i think years handle it in different ways.
director: i have been thinking that you have done a good job so far , so the thank you. president nolan: we had a meeting before the was almost seven hours long. >> the policy body has to meet in public, and you are allowed to meet in closed sessions in very limited circumstances. personnel matters, pending litigation, labor negotiations, realistic negotiations. there are a few others that occur from time to time. in terms of closed session, one of the most important things to
know is that although some actions that you have taken must be disclosed when you return to open session, and, of course, the board votes after every closed session about whether it wants to disclose the closed session. in general, the closed session is confidential, and if the board has voted to not disclose, then the material, what was said, is confidential, and it is a violation of state law for individual board members to disclose the closed session discussion. president nolan: have you ever seen in 22 years someone disclose it? >> no, i had never seen the city
go after someone. director: what is it that allows us to all go to something like the recent streetcar presentation? >> if it is open to the public, maybe a public meeting, but it is not your public meeting. it is the meeting of a state board or a federal board, it is a ceremonial gathering or other gatherings, or even a social gathering that is not put on by you, that is not, for example, a christmas party. it happened to be in your circle, and more than a majority showed up. the important thing to remember
there is not using that gathering as an opportunity without thinking about it to talk about things that are under your jurisdiction. thank you. president nolan: not coming to my house for christmas. secretary boomer: some members of the public that when it to discuss with you, but seeing we have no closed session. president nolan: do we need a motion to adjourn? so moved. we are adjourned.